How to allocate limited time to lots of work
August 18, 2019 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Short version: How do I, as a disabled freelance writer and would-be mindset and motivation coach, allocate 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, towards my various work pursuits? Any and all input is welcome. Thanks!

With my disabilities, I can (usually) reliably work in three, 2-hour blocks, 6 days a week. What I'm struggling with is balancing current client work, new client acquisition, writing for my blogs, social media posting, and working on my book.

I want to make sure I've got a good balance of money right now, money soon, money in the midterm, and money in the far-away. I suck mightily at this balance.

I'm also working on learning Divi since my mindset coach-to-be blog is currently handled by my webgoddess, who is in her third trimester with her second child. I've never loved needing to rely on her to post things for me, so this is a good "hey, she's not working, so I gotta learn this if I want any updates."

And since I'm not busy or anything, I'm also working on putting together a new portfolio/blog for my freelance writing. It's been suggested by several of my biz besties that this might help my credibility and boost my know, like, trust factor. I'm debating between a few hosting options, how to put it together, all that kind of good stuff. I'd like to get this done sooner rather than later.

If I have to do 7 days a week until I get the websites taken care of, I can probably pull that off. I'm trying hard to take at least one day off a week, but I've been doing "as many days a week as I can work without keeling over" for a while now, to try to compensate for the days I can't sit upright for more than five minutes at a time. I want to do better things to my body, so I'm making a concerted effort on this one.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess to Work & Money (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is there anything you can afford to outsource? Like the social media posting -- could you hire a college student to help out with this on a temp basis? Or ask a different friend for help in exchange for help with X task a few months down the line when you have more time?
posted by shaademaan at 6:59 PM on August 18, 2019

Seems like you should focus first on simplifying. There are lots of blog hosting platforms that do not require you to learn much of anything to have a strong presence online. Social media posting (assuming you mean sharing new blog posts) can be automated with If This, Then That. Tweetdeck or Hootsuite could help with scheduling things that can't be automated.

I'd prioritize work by paid vs will help bring in new business. The best business (cheapest to acquire) is return/referral business, and you can't get that if you miss deadlines or do sub-par work.

When I have a lot going on, I try to make incremental progress on two or three things in a day, but not all six. It's too frazzled and doesn't help me get my best work done. It also helps me feel less like I'm working seven days a week, because I spent six days on Work Related Thing, but two days on Volunteer Project and three days on Blog for Fun, so it feels like those other two things are more of a break/hobby than work.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:09 PM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

It’s not clear from your question what kind of answers you’re looking for. Are there specific problems to be solved or are you just in search of fresh thoughts about how to deal with the situation in general?

Two hour chunks actually sounds nice for working in little bursts. I would structure my week as 18 blocks of work-time and try to allocate each block of time to only doing one type of project, except for two or three blocks of time that are for small tasks and higher level/overview planning. For overview planning, you can either pre-plan which blocks of time will be used for each project, or just lay out what you will do next time you feel like doing a Client Acquisition (for example) block.

Do you use SMART goal setting for projects in various parts of your career?
You can google for more in-depth descriptions, but it stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. Each word is a concept that should be part of your goal setting description, and it helps organize what you’re hoping to get out of various efforts you’re putting in.
posted by itesser at 8:12 PM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

It might help to make a calendar for the week that blocks out which tasks you are going to do during each of your 18 blocks. You can then color code the calendar by the type of project (short term income, longer term income, building skills, personal projects) That will easily give you a quick sense of whether you are balancing your time well.
posted by metahawk at 9:34 PM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

The book The One Thing is really inspirational on the subject of effective prioritizing. I've also heard good things about The 4 Disciplines of Execution. You want to make things simple for yourself.
posted by slidell at 10:19 PM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Investigative Designer Dave Seah has several great, downloadable worksheets designed to help professionals manage their time. The Concrete Goals Tracker is specifically for entrepreneurs, and I think could really help you. As an employee, I like the Emergent Task Planner.
posted by dog-eared paperback at 6:22 AM on August 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

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